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What to Consider When Buying Hiking Boots

Shopping for hiking boots may not always be easy. There are a number of things to be look into, and what feels great at the store may not be so once you hit the trail.

Types of Hiking Shoes

Light Hiking: A heavier rendering of running shoes, these hiking boots are more aptly known as shoes. They’re good for day hiking, though a lot of many long-distance backpackers prefer this style for super-light fit too.

Mountaineering: If you’re planning adventure on some glacial trails, rocky territory and the like, mountaineering botos are the best for you to buy. Built to handle a heavy load, they are tough enough for the wildest terrain.

Backpacking: These boots are great for a range of terrain types, whether on the trail or off. If you’ll be trekking for several days, these are the right choice for you; their stiff sole makes them incredibly durable, helping you through all kinds of conditions.


Synthetics: Nylon and polyester are the usual choices for this type of material. They are feel so light and dry faster when wet, but they’re not so water-resistant.

Split-grain leather: This material is still notably breathable despite being a combination of leather and synthetics. But when you compare it to full leather, it is considerably less water-resistant, and its durability is also not that impressive.

100% leather: Mountaineering boots are often built using full-grain leather. It’s a highly durable material that’s just right for shaky terrain. But it is less breathable and quite heavy.


Low-cut: These hiking shoes are lot like running shoes. Although great for lightweight, casual hiking, this cut makes you prone to ankle injuries. Hence, boots in this cut should only be worn on well-maintained trails.

Mid-cut: With this style, you have more balance and ankle support, along with better buffer against debris on the trail.

High-cut: Because of its great balance and ankle support, this cut is the best there is for the most challenging and even dangerous trails.

Finding Your Size

It’s easy to get lost in a product’s bells and whistles and completely forget about the fit. When trying on hiking boots, always do the size test so you can be sure that the pair will be a good fit. Keep in mind that a floating heel is the most common cause of blisters, and that is something you’ll never want as a hiker.

The Test Run

Lastly, don’t ever take new boots directly to the trail. Wear them around the house for a while or when you go for errands. This is how you determine whether they are indeed the right fit for you. If they aren’t, bring them back to the store and consider swapping the boots for another pair.

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